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Jay-Z & Timbaland »

What do you get when you take the greatest living rapper and the greatest hip hip producer. You get one hot album. Sign the petition and lets make it happen.

by kenn on 7/10/2005 12:53:00 PM

Jay-Z's Angels: Rihanna

Source: UCT


Robyn Rihanna Fenty: signs big American music label.

A year ago, 16-year-old Robyn Rihanna Fenty was an unknown Bajan teenager.

Today she may be on the verge of super stardom in the United States’ music industry.

The student of Combermere School who sings soulful rhythm and blues, has just agreed to a six or seven album deal with Def-Jam Universal, a premiere record label which has such superstars as Ashanti, LL Cool J, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Ludacris, Nicole Wray, and a host of other big-name hip hop and rhythm and blues artistes in its stable of entertainers.

In less than two months, Def-Jam will put a single on radio stations across the United States and Rihanna’s first album will follow in the summer. She will soon begin choreography lessons for a music video and will be the centre of attraction in a photo shoot for the album and a major national tour.

“This is beyond my imagination,” she told the Weekend Nation in New York. “I have always dreamt about making it big in entertainment but this has happened so fast that it is almost unbelievable. I am not sure where I will be a year from now but I am going to try my best. You know, I was never interested in being a doctor or a lawyer. I always wanted to be an entertainer.”

Evan Rogers, a major American music producer who engineered the record contract which has the potential to earn the secondary school student millions of dollars if everything turns up rosey, is confident she will reach stardom.

“She is a rare talent, has all the qualities, a great voice, a charming personality, is very attractive, talented, has the youth, is supremely confident, highly intelligent and mature beyond her years,” said Rogers, who along with Carl Sturken, his business partner and co-producer in Syndicated Rhythm Production, wrote and co-produced hit tunes and albums which have sold more than 40 million copies throughout the world.

“Rihanna is exceptional and the executives at Def-Jam who heard her have signed her to an unbelievable record deal because they are convinced she is the next superstar and they plan to invest quite a lot in her career,” Rogers said. “I can tell you that in almost 20 years in the music business I haven’t seen a young singer like Rihanna. She is the whole package.”

Several other major labels were vying for the Bajan, he pointed out, but Def-Jam “made us such an amazing deal that we had to cancel the scheduled meetings with the others and it was a done deal”, right there and then

The WEEKEND NATION understands that Sony Record Company was pursuing the upcoming star.

“It was such an incredible deal that we didn’t believe any of the other labels could match it,” he added. “The others were upset when we cancelled the meetings with them. This deal was done in one day. She could have ended up with offers of five or six deals with major labels.”

The teenager has already recorded about four songs since coming to the United States and either Pon de Replay, a dance hall influenced number with some rhythm and blues and Caribbean beats or The Last Time, a classic rhythm and blues tune, would be her maiden song.

“I know I am going to be successful and I am looking forward to a career in music,” said the teenager, who will use her second Christian name, Rihanna, on stage and on the album.

“I have to thank my mum, Mr Rogers and his wife and all the others who have made this possible. They believed in me and I am committed to this. Just to let you know that my headmaster at Combermere was always supportive. The Rogers family put a lot of effort and money into this. They spent a lot of money in this because they believed in me and I believe in myself too.”

She also spoke of the support from her father and brothers.

Rihanna’s path to stardom began in December 2003 when Rogers and his Barbadian wife, Jackie, were on the island for Christmas and they heard Rihanna sing.

The rest, as they say in show business, is history.

“My jaw dropped when I heard her in Barbados,” Rogers said. “You can walk on a beach for years and years picking up shells. They are always chipped. One day you find the perfect shell, a gem. That’s how it is with her.”

It was Rogers and his wife, the former Jackie Jordan and Sturken, who is married to a Barbadian, Cheryl Anne, who made arrangements for the Combermerian to come to the United States around Easter last year.

“We put her into the studio to record a few songs and she showed such poise, such great instincts and natural ability, to get in there and adapt amazingly quickly for her age,” said Rogers. “We also wanted to assess her attitude because sometimes you can find a talented young singer but they don’t have the hunger and passion for music, for singing in this business. It became pretty clear to us that she has all of those things. She loves the whole process of recording.”

After returning to Barbados, Rihanna returned to the United States in December and by then Rogers and Sturken had devised a career path of a mix of Caribbean beats and rhythm and blues that would set her apart.

“We came up with the right songs and between her return to Barbados and her trip back to the United States she had improved so much, it was unbelievable. We knew we were very close to going to the labels with her,” said Rogers.

But they weren’t the only ones sold on Rihanna.

The Def-Jam executives and producers, including Jay-Z, perhaps the biggest name in hip-hop music, and Jay Brown, the label’s executive vice-president, felt she was the real thing.

“In the music business you often meet young people who can sing but who don’t speak very well,” Rogers said. “That’s not the case here.”

That double dose of talent should come in handy when she undertakes a national United States tour to promote her album. In keeping with United States law, an adult chaperon or special assistant will accompany Rihanna on tour.

“Her education will not suffer because Def-Jam plans to provide her with tutors while she is on the road on tour in the United States,” he said. “She must spend several hours a day studying and highly responsible adults whose careers are built on looking after teenagers who are minors would be with her at all times.”

“I owe Jackie and Evan Rogers a tremendous debt of gratitude for opening the doors for me and being so kind to me,” she said. “They treat me like I am their child.”

Interestingly enough, Def-Jam’s plans for Rihanna aren’t limited to the United States. They intend to market her records in Europe, the Far East, Canada and the Caribbean.

Roger’s wife shares his and Def-Jam’s confidence in Rihanna.

“She is such a nice child and supremely talented singer who is going to reach the top, that’s how good she is,” said the Bajan who once headed the Barbados Tourism Authority’s operation in the United States.

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